Akai S900

Akai S900 Image

Akai S900

The S900 sampler was Akai's first truly professional sampler, released in 1986. Its sampling specifications were pro-quality at the time: 12-bit stereo sampling, 7.5kHz to 40kHz variable sampling rates and a maximum of 63 seconds of sample time at 7.5kHz. Up to 32 samples can be created and stored to disk along with any edit settings. This was one of the first rack-mount samplers to use a built-in disk drive. Although the drive could load sounds while you play, it was still a very slow process.

Editing and programming the S900 is a very good precursor to the advanced S3000 series. There are lots of advanced edit capabilities for looping, truncating, velocity crossfading, tuning and even analog-like parameters to control. Individual outputs for each of the eight voices, stereo mix out, stereo input, MIDI and trigger inputs round out this machine as a professional vintage-status sampler that still proves to be very useful even for today's musicians!

Akai S950 Image

Akai S950

The S950 soon followed the S900 and offered increased memory and sampling rates. The sample rate was now variable from 7.5 to 48kHz and it could hold up to 99 samples in memory. Memory could be expanded from 750KB to 2.25MB. The S950 is used by Fatboy Slim, Moby, Skinny Puppy, Depeche Mode, Future Sound of London, Sneaker Pimps, The Bomb Squad, Dr. Dre, DJ Premiere, Prince Paul, Vangelis, Digable Planets, A Guy Called Gerald and Asian Dub Foundation.

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43 Visitor comments
L. Stanley
December 29, 2008 @ 12:30 pm
Wikipedia and a lot of sites taking their info from Wiki credit the E-mu SP 1200 with changing the face of hip hop. But the Akai S900 is the one pictured on the jacket of Stetsasonic's single "Talkin' All That Jazz," a group which featured Prince Paul, among others. The Akai was a far better sampler than its competitor (Emu's SP-12) at the time it was released in 1986. The revolution in sampling was already in progress when the SP-1200 was released!!
November 14, 2008 @ 4:58 am
The S950 has always been my favorite sampler, for it's ease of use.stereo samples can be achieved with a bit of practice, and the results speak for themselves. it's just brilliant.
November 13, 2008 @ 10:54 am
12 bit = rullante hiphop sonorità tipicamente rap anni '90.
davvero divertente, anche se ci vuole un po' per imparare a programmarlo a dovere e se difficilmente si riesce ad interfacciarlo con i pc d'oggi...meglio con mac
qualcuno lo usa anche solo per utilizzarlo come effetto facendoci passare attraverso il basso od altro....
Anoop Sahal
November 4, 2008 @ 2:46 am
My S-900 will not load samples whilst playing loaded samples. Which update allows this function?
Dan Wilson
October 29, 2008 @ 4:42 pm
The AKAI 950 has a lovely punchy, crunchy sound and lightening fast MIDI response making it perfect for Hip Hop - this is due 12 bit sampling and completely discrete output stages (there is a ton of electronics in this thing!) - Don't believe me then try firing hats on 32's at this thing and then observe how sloppy the equivalent sequence is on a much newer AKAI or just about any E-mu sampler. The EMAX II, for example, is one of the most forgiving samplers I've ever used in terms of audio - it sounds lovely - BUT - it has really sloppy MIDI timing which means it's brilliant for huge pads and useless for hip hop - quite unlike the S950. The S900 is similar but rather curiously can suffer from poor sub bass response.

One warning - this unit can suffer from nasty clicking sounds due to note stealing. Through careful sample configuration this can be overcome.

Dan, Hideaway Studio.
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Rated 3.92 (333 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 8 voices
  • Sampler - 12-bit linear, 7.5 - 40kHz sampling rates (63 seconds). Up to 48kHz in S950.
  • Memory - 750 kB RAM in S900 (not expandable). 750 kB (standard) to 2.25 mB RAM in S950.
  • VCA - ADSR
  • Effects - None
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Keyboard - None
  • Storage - 750K internal RAM. Up to 2.25MB in S950
  • Control - MIDI plus optional 8 trigger-inputs via ME35T-board
  • Date Produced - S900: 1986
    S950: 1988
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Akai Pro and

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